Riverdale Press: Turning test takers into poets

October 21, 2013 8:43 am In the News

In the fervent debate on education in the city, poetry is not foremost among policymakers’ priorities.

Common Core standards have taken pride of place away from literature, mandating that students read more non-fiction and less fiction as they pass through grade school.

That is not stopping Amanda Nicole Gullaa from teaching her students at Lehman College’s School of Education how to employ poems and paintings in their own teaching when they graduate and become educators themselves.

On Oct. 10, Ms. Gulla led an evening workshop on a form of verse known as ekphrastic poetry.  Ekphrasitc, a word borrowed from the ancient Greeks, refers to any poem that describes a work of art.

Ms. Gullaa touted it as a way for students to commune with the fine arts and express themselves more deeply than through the kind of personal statements they often have to write.

“We’re teaching kids that having a voice is not just about saying whatever is on your mind,” Ms. Gullaa said. “It’s about finding connections between personal experience and central truths about life on Earth.”

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